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What to watch for as the Golden Knights head to Carolina

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The season series between these two teams comes to an end Sunday. The Hurricanes won the last meeting 3-2 in a shootout, which was Marc-Andre Fleury’s return.

Carolina Hurricanes v Vegas Golden Knights
Elias Lindholm #23 of the Carolina Hurricanes handles the puck while Pierre-Edouard Bellemare #41 of the Vegas Golden Knights defends
Photo by David Becker/NHLI via Getty Images

Since the last time the Vegas Golden Knights played the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 12, the Hurricanes have gone 9-6-1. It’s much better hockey going on in Carolina and they’re not that far off from playoff positioning. The Hurricanes are three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second wild card spot despite losing four of their past six games.

The Golden Knights are entering off a rougher recent schedule, having lost three of four to open up the second half of the season, but Vegas has at least gotten four point out of it. The only victory was an impressive one against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Vegas still has a commanding lead atop the Pacific Division, but closing this road trip strong is imperative.

The last time Carolina and Vegas met up, the Golden Knights lost 3-2 in a shootout in what was Marc-Andre Fleury’s return to the ice from his concussion. Here’s what to watch for as the Golden Knights wrap up another season series against an Eastern Conference foe.

Erasing mistakes

Mistakes cost the Golden Knights the last game against Carolina. This is all you need to see.

The Golden Knights had 11 turnovers. It’s safe to say, and pretty obvious, that Vegas needs to be better in that regard.

Keep them out of the high-danger areas

The Hurricanes have the ninth-most high danger goals in the NHL. That's on the fourth-most chances. A key to stopping Carolina will be to stop them from getting close to the net. Here's a look at where the Hurricanes shot from against Vegas.

naturalstattrick.com

Yeah, Vegas didn't stop the Hurricanes from getting off high-danger shots. Almost all of the Carolina shots came from the circles or right in front of the crease. That's exactly what the Golden Knights want to avoid.

That's where the defense has to step up. Stay inside of the Hurricanes' forwards, and force them to the outside. Pay special attention to the faceoff circles, which is where both of the Hurricanes' regulation goals came from.

Get better possession

A look at the game flow chart for the Dec. 12 game:

naturalstattrick.com

If you don’t think possession is important, then look at this here chart. The Hurricanes got off more shots throughout the game, which led to a victory. The vintage matchup between Fleury and Cam Ward turned into exactly that. Fleury will start tonight, by the way.

The Golden Knights need to reverse their possession fortunes against Carolina. The Knights need to force the Hurricanes' goaltender to make more stops and get more chances.

How to watch

Time: 3 p.m. PT

TV: AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, NHL.TV

Radio: Fox Sports 98.9 FM/1340 AM